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News, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer, internet, communications and information technology sectors

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Tech Law Journal
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Sept. 11, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 17.

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News Briefs

9/8. The USPTO and the Copyright Office filed an amicus brief in A&M Records v. Napster in which it argued that "Section 1008 of the Audio Home Recording Act does not protect Napster from the plaintiffs' claims of copyright infringement. Section 1008 was adopted to address a very different phenomenon the noncommercial consumer use of digital audio recording devices, such as DAT tape decks, to perform "home taping" of musical recordings. Napster's effort to bring itself within the ambit of Section 1008 flouts the terms of the statute and conflicts with the basic policies of the Act."
9/8. Harris Interactive (HI) and Microsoft reached a settlement of HI's lawsuit against Microsoft and others. Microsoft, as part of an anti-spam effort, blocked HI e-mail messages reaching Microsoft's hotmail users. Microsoft agreed to stop filtering HI e-mail. HI filed suit in U.S. District Court (WDNY) on July 31 against Microsoft, AOL, Qwest and other e-mail service providers alleging violation of antitrust law, defamation, negligence, and other causes of action. All subscribed to the Realtime Blackhole List, which is maintained by the Mail Abuse Prevention System. MAPS is also a defendant in the suit. AOL settled in August by agreeing to stop blocking HI e-mail. See, HI release.
9/8. FCC released an order [47 pages, MS Word] in its SBC Ameritech antitrust merger review proceeding (CC Docket No. 98-141). The FCC waived parts of its order approving the merger to allow SBC to begin providing DSL service through neighborhood broadband gateways deployed by it as part of the its $6 Billion Project Pronto initiative. This order waives the condition imposed upon SBC that requires an SBC separate affiliate to own equipment used to provide advanced services. See, TLJ story. See also, SBC release.
9/8. The House Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee postponed indefinitely its meeting to mark up several bills, including
  H.R. 3011, the Truth in Telephone Billing Act of 1999.
  HR 3100, the Know Your Caller Act.
  HR 3850, the Independent Telecoms. Consumer Enhancement Act of 2000.
  HR 2346, regarding regulation of citizens band radio equipment.
9/8. The Child Online Protection Commission announced that it will hold a meeting in Washington DC on Sept. 18 and 19. See, TLJ Calendar.
9/7. FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani gave a speech in Washington DC to the LCCR titled "Civil Rights in the Digital World." Quote: "The civil rights and policy debate in the digital era is about ... answering the following questions. ... And one final question, should the universal access to the telephone of the past century be extended to the technology of the digital century?" See also, TLJ story.
9/7. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Wm. Kennard and FTC Chairman Rbt. Pitofsky requesting that the FCC institute a formal rule making proceeding on open access, but that neither the FTC or FCC impose any open access conditions in their AOL Time Warner merger proceedings. See, TLJ story.
9/7. Real Networks and Streambox settled their lawsuit. Real filed suit in Dec. 1999 in U.S. District Court (WDWa) alleging that Streambox products violated the DMCA. The companies issued releases which both stated: "Streambox agreed that it will modify its Streambox Ripper product so that it no longer transcodes RealMedia streams into other formats, and that it will modify its Streambox VCR product so that it respects the copy protection feature in RealSystem. RealNetworks will provide Streambox with a license to the RealSystem Software Development Kit, which Streambox can use to create future versions of Streambox products that will respect RealNetworks' copy protection technology. As part of the settlement, Streambox also agreed to stop distributing the Streambox Ferret program, which altered the search functionality on RealNetworks' RealPlayer, and to pay RealNetworks an undisclosed sum of money. The parties did not release further details of the confidential settlement agreement." See, Real release.
Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert. The dates indicate when the event occurred, not the date of posting to Tech Law Journal.
New TLJ Stories

FCC Regulators Give SBC Permission to Build DSL Facilities. (9/11) The FCC released a second order in its SBC Ameritech merger review proceeding. This order modifies the condition imposed upon SBC in its first order that a separate affiliate must own equipment used to provide advanced services. This new order means that SBC can provide DSL service through neighborhood broadband gateways to be deployed as part of its $6 Billion Project Pronto.
Goodlatte and Boucher Request FCC Rule Making on Open Access, Oppose Conditions on AOL TW Merger. (9/11) Two of the House of Representatives leading Internet proponents, Reps. Boucher and Goodlatte, wrote a letter to the FCC and FTC on September 7 requesting that the FCC institute a formal rule making proceeding to promulgate open access rules that apply to all technologies and companies, but that neither the FTC nor the FCC impose any open access conditions in their AOL Time Warner merger reviews.
Tristani: Should There Be Universal Service for the Internet? (9/11/) FCC Commissioner Tristani gave a speech in Washington DC on September 7 in which she advocated redressing various digital divides. She concluded by asking whether universal service should cover the Internet.
Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss in Internet Wine Sales Case. (9/8) A federal court issued a decision denying defendants' motion dismiss in Swedenburg v. Kelly, a constitutional challenge to New York State's statute restricting direct sales of alcoholic beverages. Judge Berman wrote that the 21st Amendment will not sustain a statute that is mere economic protectionism.
State Liquor Laws Barring Internet Wine Sales Held to Violate Commerce Clause. (9/8) A federal court decision on September 5 in Swedenburg v. Kelly was part of a year long string of decisions that have gone against states which maintain laws that seek to protect in state liquor distributors from outside competitors, including small Internet wineries which sell over the Internet, or by direct mail sales.
New Documents

USPTO & USCO: Amicus Curiae Brief, in Napster v. A&M Records, 9/8 (PDF, LOC).
Judge Berman: Decision and Order, in Swedenburg v. Kelly, re Internet alcohol sales, 9/5 (75 KB HTML file in TLJ web site).
Comm'n Tristani: Speech titled Civil Rights in the Digital World, 9/7 (HTML, TLJ).
Reps. Goodlatte and Boucher: Letter to FCC and FTC re open access, 9/7 (HTML, TLJ).
FCC: Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, in SBC Ameritech merger proceeding, granting SBC permission to build DSL facilities, 9/8 (47 pages in MS Word, FCC).
New and Updated Sections

Swedenburg v. Kelly case summary (updated).
Calendar (updated).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).

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